April 9th, 2014

moria mask

The Lightning Tree. (13; 4:9)

The Telling by Ursula LeGuin.

Gather round, listeners,
Yoz, it's time to hear the Maz!
"Roll initiative!"

The eponymous "Telling" is a religion based on storytelling. Or sort of, anyhow; "religion" is the right word for it, but it is more transactional, more entertainment & education-- though having watched Cosmos last night, I have no problem acknowledging that at times many religions have had strong education & entertainment roles...& they certainly are transactional. I will also admit that my first thought was "so this planet had a religion where they venerated Dungeon Masters?" So yes, Le Guin's Hainish Cycle continues to be my favorite...& we're at the end of the novels, now. I want to chase down the short stories. Looks like if I get The Wind's Twelve Quarters, The Birthday of the World, A Fisherman of the Inland Sea & Four Ways to Forgiveness, I'll have all of those. This story is about a woman from Earth who grew up during a period of intense theocratic oppression, & left to join the Ekumen, the global society...& was sent to a world in the throes of intense corporate oppression. The oppression is ever-present but isn't the heart of the story; the heart of the story isn't even The Telling. The Telling is the body of the story; the heart of the story are the pains people have, & how those pains can, like curved glass, either warp their perception of the world or bring it into focus. I remain astonished at Le Guin's mix of rational ethics, & I mention that specifically because this is by far the most "spiritual" of the Hainish Cycle I've read. I will say, however, now that I've read them all, that the math orcs of The Dispossessed will always have my heart.